MADISON (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker promised to transform the state Department of Natural Resources. And he has, cutting scientists, shrinking its budget and pushing the agency to be more receptive to industry. And even more changes could be in store. Walker and Republican lawmakers, who hold their largest majorities in decades, are pondering whether to eliminate the agency and spread its duties across state government as well as charge people more to get into state parks and to hunt. It all adds up to a picture of a struggling agency no one recognizes any more, critics say.
Tiffany and Jarchow seem to wear it as a badge of honor that the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters gives them failing grades for their legislative performance. In reality, that is a badge of shame. In reality, it’s Tiffany and Jarchow who are dogmatic in advocating for private property rights with no mention of responsibilities to protect our natural resources for the benefit of all. In particular, they have pushed through legislation, hidden in the state budget bill, that makes it much more difficult for local and county governments to enact rules to protect our lakes, streams and groundwater from irresponsible development.